If you had to make a list of all the elements that are most critical to your business, your operations - that is, the processes and procedures at the heart of it all - would be right at the top. Think, for a moment, about all of the disparate elements of any organization that fall under the larger umbrella of the operations department:
- Inventory and materials acquisition and management
- Product or service delivery
- Product or service development
- Project management
- Quality assurance and testing
- The list goes on and on
But the key thing to understand is that these are not separate elements at all. They illustrate, if nothing else, why operations management is so pivotal: it brings these components together to operate as the singular entity that is the business you're trying to run on a daily basis.
The Cornerstone of Your Business: Operations
That's also not the end of the story. Some companies categorize a number of different elements under the business operations banner, including both sales and customer service. Taken together, you don't just have the spine of your company - you have its heart, too.
But recognizing that operations is important is one thing. Acting like you believe this to be true is something else entirely. When you make a choice to use off-the-shelf software to manage all of these mission-critical activities, you're saying one thing loud and clear: operations doesn't matter nearly as much to me as I say it does.
Not only are all of these various "arms" of operations different, but your operations department is different from every other company out these - even your closest competitors. Why, then, does it make sense to assume that a single off-the-shelf software solution can service so many different masters at the same time?
It can't. Period, end of story.
The Problem With Failing to Embrace What Makes You Unique
Let's say that you are using the same pre-existing software solution to manage your operations department as your closest competitor. How are you supposed to use it to create a competitive advantage for yourself if your biggest adversary has access to the exact same tool? How you are supposed to use it to gain superior visibility into inventory and materials management? How are you supposed to make it easier for your employees to execute project management in the way that you need? Where is the unique insight you need to unlock performance optimizations in terms of getting your products or services out to customers in faster and more efficient ways?
It's not there, because it doesn't exist.
Regardless of the type of business you're running or even the industry you're operating in, you would be far better served by investing in software development services to create custom software built specifically for your business and nobody else's.
Maybe you're trying to create a better, more organic, more enriching link between your customer service and quality assurance departments. Maybe you want to bring all the various aspects of product delivery together in a single unit, from concept to post-sales and everything in between. An Excel spreadsheet isn't going to be able to do any of that - at least not in a way that A) is efficient, that B) maximizes your performance or C) makes sense to anyone else but you.
Only custom software can unlock these types of benefits. At the end of the day, it's very clear that the importance of your operations to your larger business is something that literally cannot be overstated enough. But if operations are the heart of your business, your software is absolutely the brain. It's the thing that brings everything together and that not only acknowledges that your organization is unique, but that allows you to use that fact to your advantage.
About the Author
Lance Keene, the founder of Keene Systems,
has 40 years’ experience in custom software development.
Over the course of his career he and his team have written software for companies such as Mack Trucks,
Bayer, Calvin Klein, Hershey, IBM, Kimberly Clark, Lindt, Sara Lee, Pfizer, BAE, L'oreal, Ocean Spray, Dana Farber, Tootsie Rolls, Guiness, Texas Instruments, and CVS.
(see full client list)
If you'd like to learn more about custom software alternatives to your current IT problems, you can speak one-on-one with Lance
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